I am Canadian

I originally wrote this column 13 years ago but I still feel same today … Canada Day.

I am Canadian

This is not a beer commercial. I am Canadian. I was a Canadian long before an American company sold beer called Canadian in this country.

I’m a Canadian even though I don’t particularly like the beer that calls itself Canadian. Oddly enough, I like an American beer that’s brewed here in Canada. So as we hit our 151th birthday as a nation, it’s no wonder that we may have an identity crisis of sorts. It goes deeper than a weekend beer crisis.

I was thinking about it the other day, what makes us truly Canadian? Being born here helps, but it’s not necessary.

For me, I like to think that I’m a true Canadian. I am a Canadian first, foremost, and only.

I don’t ascribe to being anything else. My ancestry is Welsh, Scottish, and German. But that’s not me. I have no allegiance to any of those countries. I don’t go to Robbie Burns Night, I don’t go to Oktoberfest, and I don’t particularly like leeks. The World Cup of soccer is on and I could care less if the Brits and the Germans meet in the final.

It might because I’m not a big soccer fan, but if Canada was playing I would cheering the local guys on as hard as I can. My heroes include Terry Fox, Rick Hansen, and Pierre Berton. I cheer for the Canucks, the Leafs, the Canadiens, the Oilers, the Flames, Jets, and Senators … in that order. I curse bilingualism but praise our Two Solitudes. I curse (Pierre) Trudeau for what he did, but admire how he did it.

In Canada we have a lot of people who are from somewhere else, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact I believe it’s great that we have a diverse culture. If I moved to another country I would hope that country would embrace my Canadian culture. I certainly wouldn’t be able to leave it behind.

It’s funny though to see people who were born and raised here saying they don’t want to forget where they’re from. They’re from here. Don’t get me wrong, I think ancestry is important. Knowing where your family comes from gives you a sense of your history. But, I’m not my mother and father. Where they’re from is where they from.  Where I’m from is where I’m from.

I was born in this country so I’m a Canadian. I’m not a hyphen.

I don’t think of myself as a Canadian of Anglo Saxon descent, although that’s what I am. I’m simply a Canadian.

It’s Canada Day. It’s a day to celebrate being Canadian. It’s a day to celebrate our country, which, by the way, is the best country in the world.